As a Virgo, I often blame my astrological sign with my perfectionism. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an inherently competitive person – whether in the classroom, playing video games, or choosing which college I attended.
This competitive spirit also carried over to my job search.
After applying for over 100 social media associate jobs, I was only invited to one interview for three companies. Only one of them gave me an offer. I couldn’t imagine why I wasn’t getting more opportunities, and I certainly wasn’t used to experiencing that level of rejection.
The reality is that no matter how much we all want to avoid this sinking feeling, we all encounter failure in our lives. But with each disappointment, there is an opportunity to learn from what went wrong and come back stronger than before – it only takes a little reshaping to find that silver lining.
3 ways to turn failure into growth opportunity
Social marketers experience all sorts of failures in their careers, from failing the job to killing an idea. Here are some tips that will help you get the most out of these three scenarios:
If you don’t get the job
As more companies invest in social marketing, the demand for social marketers will continue to grow – which means the competition for these roles will only get tougher. If you’ve applied to hundreds of jobs and only heard of a handful about them, job hunting can take a toll on you.
If you don’t get the job, it may indicate that you are better qualified for another position or that there is a cultural mismatch. If an interview isn’t what you want, here are some steps you can take to get the most out of your rejection:
- Identify areas where you can expand your skills. Instead of hanging your head down, take this opportunity to reach out to the recruiter and ask for feedback on what could make you a great candidate. Are there certain skills that you can focus on developing, such as: B. strengthening your written communication skills or your ability to make connections? Feedback from an interviewer can help you determine the expertise you need to become the best possible candidate for a social media job.
- Assess whether this job is right. A rejection is the perfect time to reassess if the company culture suits you. Sure, you might want the job, but is this a company that values their social media team or treats each social marketer as “another intern”? This is a great opportunity to evaluate what you are looking for in a potential job and to see if a prospective employer has your best professional interests and goals in mind.
- When you are looking for a job, press Pause. If you regularly apply for every available job posting, take a moment to take a step back. While pushing yourself is good, a better strategy would be to apply for roles with companies that you admire. Being selective about the roles you play will give you more time to focus on your application and make sure you are doing your best at each interview.
When your idea gets shot down
For example, let’s say you have a new campaign idea that you think is the Michael Jordan of all campaign ideas. Presentation day comes, you set your vision, but the team decides on a different idea.
In this situation, it can be difficult not to interpret rejection as personal failure. But this is also an opportunity to ask your colleagues directly what went wrong and why they went in a different direction. When you’ve worked through this rejection, turn this experience into a growth opportunity:
- Assess the strength of your idea. Just because your idea wasn’t selected doesn’t mean it was a bad idea. It may not have been the right idea for any specific goal your team was trying to achieve. When evaluating the strength of your idea, consider the context in which it was shared and whether you addressed your team’s main goals. Timing is everything and sometimes a great idea is rejected because it cannot be solved for an immediate problem or need.
- Ask for feedback. When you’re comfortable, ask your co-workers what else you could have done to make your pitch presentation as powerful as possible. I know how difficult it can be to get negative feedback, but you can’t grow if you don’t know what to improve. You may also want to seek advice on how to improve your presentation skills to make sure that you design your idea in a way that engages your audience.
When a project doesn’t go according to plan
Whether your campaign didn’t meet the goals you set, or you had to unexpectedly tweak your social networking plans, there are a few ways your original idea may have missed the mark. Instead of marking these campaigns as failures, this is an opportunity to learn what went well and where you can improve for your next big project.
Start by naming the problem. Did your social campaign miss your awareness goals or have you struggled to meet your engagement benchmarks? Once you’ve diagnosed the problem, here are steps you can take to investigate where something went wrong and what you can do differently next time:
- Browse through the data. When reviewing campaign analytics, look for fluctuations in your campaign performance that could indicate where something went wrong. For example, if you’ve seen a drop in page views, you should consider what other activities may have negatively impacted your campaign during that period. If you changed the publication time or a branding element in a tweet, how did this adjustment affect your engagements or impressions? By taking a closer look at your social metrics and comparing them to your goals, you can see why a campaign didn’t go as well as you hoped.
- Share your results with others. After reviewing your performance data, summarize what worked and what could be improved. Then, create a social media report of your findings and observations that you can share with your team members, managers, and even executives. Sharing this data, even if a campaign didn’t go according to plan, is a valuable resource for your entire team to learn from what went well and where strategies or budgets can be adjusted in the future.
Fail quickly to advance in your career
Everyone experiences failure or rejection at some point in their professional career – none of us are immune to it. What matters is how marketers process this experience and turn it into a learning opportunity that benefits their future growth.
When marketers redefine their perception of mistakes, not only will they overcome those experiences faster, but they will come out much stronger than before. When you’re ready to take your social media career to the next level, download this career growth template to start building a personalized career plan today.